WAYNESBORO, Va. — Whenever someone mentions the Waynesboro Fall Foliage Festival (WFFF), Scarlett A. Oak, a developed leaf from a local 77-year-old white oak tree, glistens with excitement. That’s because, at this year’s festival, Scarlett will make her debut on the leaf exhibitionist circuit.
“Ever since I was a little bud, I’ve been drawn to the stage,” Scarlett said. “My family, the rest of the Oaks, didn’t believe in me. They told me, ‘You’re just a leaf. You can’t leave us.’”
Yet, as the wind picks up, leaves will go anywhere that it blows. In Scarlett’s case, she happened to be blown right to where she wanted to be: Waynesboro.
Scarlett was discovered by none other than legendary Jackson “Shagbark” Hickory, who wowed 2017 WFFF attendees with his vibrant yellow hues. However, time hasn’t been kind to Shagbark. His once vibrant stem is now dull brown.
Despite his personal setbacks, as soon as he saw Scarlett, Shagbark knew he had to help her. “I know she’ll be bigger than me day. It’s like watching an acorn being born.”
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